Vorobieva, World Medalists Reign Over Women’s German Grand Prix

By William May

DORMAGEN, Germany (May 24) – Natalia VOROBIEVA (RUS) nabbed the 69kg crown in her return to the No.1 ranking with a dominating performance at the German Grand Prix of women’s wrestling.

The London 2012 Olympic Games gold medalist notched three wins by fall and capped her march to the crown with an 11-0 triumph over Paris Grand Prix winner Martina KUENZ (AUT) in the final.

Vorobieva, who began 2015 at No.3 in the United World Wrestling rankings, was elevated to top position in May with a win this year at the Yarygin Grand Prix and the top individual performance at the World Cup – coupled with the struggles of reigning world champ Aline FOCKEN (GER).

The victory ensures Vorobieva will be ranked No.1 for June and the inaugural European Games in Baku, where the two-time European champion is expected to seek the continental crown for a third year in a row.

Wrestling competition in Baku is scheduled for June 13-18, with Vorobieva slated to compete on the first day women’s events June 15.

Meanwhile, Vorobieva was joined in the Dormagen winner’s circle by former world champions Sofia MATTSSON (SWE) and Marianna SASTIN (HUN) and world medal winners Irina OLOGONOVA (RUS), Anastassia HUCHOK (BLR) and Henna JOHANSSON (SWE).

Mattsson, world silver medalist in 2013 and 2014, pinned local favorite Nina HEMMER (GER) at 1:34 of the 53kg final with a bar-arm to body press after the former European junior bronze medalist notched four first-period falls in the run-up to the tourney finale.

In the 58kg final, Sastin scored a go-behind takedown and gained another point off the shot-clock for a 3-3 criteria win over world bronze medalist Emese BARKA (HUN) to level the Hungarian world team challenge series at one win each.

Barka defeated Sastin, 4-3, in the semifinals of the Dan Kolov tourney in April in the first leg of the challenge series. The third leg will be at the Poland Open in July with the winner getting the world team berth at 58kg and the chance to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Other world medalists to win in Dormagen were silver medalist Irina OLOGONOVA (RUS) at 55kg, Anastassia HUCHOK (BLR) at 60kg, and Henna JOHANSSON (SWE) at 63kg.

The page of world medalists, however, was not without casualties as world champion Focken made an early exit with a bruised hip after a collision with Adina POPESCU (ROU) in the second round, ending hopes for a potential match-up with Vorobieva in the 69kg final.

World silver medalist Valeria KOBLOVA (RUS) was tripped up by Sastin in the 58kg semifinals, 6-11, after forging a 4-1 lead in the first period. Ekaterina BUKINA (RUS), a 2011 world silver medal winner, was also turned away in the semifinals, 5-10, by the defending champion in Dormagen, Erica WIEBE (CAN).

Jessica MacDONALD (CAN), a 2012 world champion, advanced to the finals at 48kg with three technical falls and a 10-4 win over Yarygin Grand Prix winner Valentina ISLAMOVA (RUS), but defaulted to 2014 South American Games gold medalist Carolina CASTILLO HIDALGO (COL).

For tourney results for seniors and cadets: www.ringen-nrw.de, in the left-hand column click “Aus dem Verband”, then in the drop-down menu select “Turniere”.

Championship finals

48kg - Carolina CASTILLO HIDALGO (COL) df. Jessica MacDONALD (CAN) by injury default, 0:00

53kg - Sofia MATTSSON (SWE) df. Nina HEMMER (GER) by Fall, 1:34 (10-2)

55kg - Gold - Irina OLOGONOVA (RUS) df. Karima SANCHEZ (ESP) by TF, 10-0, 5:20

58kg - Marianna SASTIN (HUN) df. Emese BARKA (HUN), 3-3

60kg - Anastassia HUCHOK (BLR) df. Therese PERSSON (SWE), 7-4

63kg - Henna JOHANSSON (SWE) df. Inna TRAZHUKOVA (RUS) by Fall, 2:11 (2-2)

69kg - Natalia VOROBIEVA (RUS) df. Martina KUENZ (AUT) by TF, 11-0, 5:57

75kg – Erica WIEBE (CAN) df. Epp MAE (EST), 5-1